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Ron Rizzo

Ol' Lancer:

I've been a fan of the Holmes-Watson duo for nearly a century (LOL), and your dad's right, Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce were the perfect pair. But I then obtained the BBC series with Jeremy Brett, and was mightily impressed at their faithfulness to Doyle's version. Looking forward to the movie now.

BTW, your winter picture from last year (taken down the street at 10 in the ayem) graces my desktop to remind me why I live in Florida.


"I’m also dreading one more thing.

Rachel McAdams in a corset, garter belt, and thigh highs."

I can guess why. It would cause you to break the Ninth Commandment.


I'm off to see it this evening, Lance. As a big Holmes fan...on a one day layover in London a few years back, I insisted on seeing 221B above any other landmark...I, too, anticipate this with some dread.

I'm torn between my favourite Holmes. Rathbone had the patrician know-it-all quality slightly better than Brett, but undoubtedly, Brett brought to the role an animalistic quality. Brett's Holmes could not have been anything but a detective, whereas Rathbone could easily have been a violinist, a dockworker, an actor.

I suspect some of this has to do with the cultural environment: Rathbone had to portray an almost-Superman Holmes because of the war, where Brett had the luxury of focusing on Holmes the enigma.

Holmes in Khartoum


I remember from somewhere an interview in which Brett told [or perhaps recounted being told] the secret of playing Holmes: Most actors, he said, look for ways to reveal Holmes' inner workings--his secret desires, his unspoken longings, the childhood trauma that made him who and what he is. The trick is to understand that he doesn't have any. There's nothing inside. That's cold, but it sounds right to me: Like Hammett's Spade, we can know Holmes only from the outside in.

I think that's where the expansion of 'The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton' into the Brett story 'The Master Blackmailer' erred. It's not that invented elements in the plot arc of his [ahem] dysfunctional engagement to the housemaid are, strictly speaking, noncanonical. It's that they represent a rare [for that series] and unsuccessful attempt to get inside Holmes's head.


Who shows up in the very first story.

Well, the very first short story. Both A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four predated "A Scandal in Bohemia."

(I love the smell of pointless pedantry in the morning.)


I enjoyed it, as a film I wanted to see on a big screen rather than at home. Two things. Downey should not have been cast in what will hopefully be a new franchise. I like the franchise idea, because it will hopefully lead new generations to discover the literature. The role should have gone to a Brit. End of story. But what makes it worse is that Downey is continuing as Tony Stark in Iron Man. I hate having the same actor in both.

Secondly: a stupid piece of dialogue given to Mary. Upon meeting Holmes she says something like, 'I've gotten a bunch of detective novels, Wilke Collins, Poe.' The idea of "detective novels" had certainly not yet codified in the 1880s, even though Poe had published "Murders in the Rue Morgue." It just wasn't a genre yet. Really took me out of the story for a minute.

Tim S.

Saw the movie and really enjoyed it. It plays more like "James Bond in Victorian England," though without the libido, contrary to your fears from the previews. The affection between Holmes and Watson is played up well, and Guy Ritchie proves again that he's one of the few directors who can actually handle an action movie that keeps people interested.

My big gripe with it was that I wanted Holmes to struggle more against the mystical element. A creature of logic, it should have bothered him more than it did, or at least he should have made a couple dismissive pronouncements about it (as I recall the literary Holmes doing about "vampires" in one story). He's secure in his logical world, yes, but it was specifically challenged.

Ah well. All in all, it delivered what it promised. I look forward to seeing your review of it!


Tim S., I expected Holmes to say something along those lines too. It's there, though, in Downey's attitude in the cemetery.

Mrs Peel, that bothered me too. Besides, who considers Collins a writer of detective novels as opposed to mysteries? And it wouldn't have been necessary if A. Ritchie hadn't decided for some reason that Watson hadn't written up any of the cases as stories yet or B.---and this bothered me more---Ritchie had let Mary be the Mary from The Sign of Four.


You're right. Those two novels came first. A Scandal in Bohemia, though, is the first story in the first collection, and I guess I assumed that everybody starts with The Adventures because that's where I did.


"The Complete Sherlock Holmes" begins with the first two novels. Single-volume, contains everything. My copy is inscribed by my parents: Happy Birthday, 14-year-old!

Ian Welsh

I thought Downey did an acceptable job.

Very clearly the beginning of a franchise, assuming it does well enough at the box office, which I'm sure it will.


Tim, I took the Holmes logic v mysticism to be an in-character trait, that he was applying his own saw, and realized there was a perfectly logical explanation. I don't want to spoiler the movie, so I won't say more.

I thought the film was superb, altho like MA I had reservations about Downey (specifically after there was an IronMan trailer). Lance, that would make an interesting comparison: Tony Stark v Sherlock Holmes as visioned by Downey.

The Collins comment came as less of a shock to me because I assumed Mary was trying to shine up her creds with Holmes, and of course, set up his devastating construct of her physicality.


You haven't seen it? I liked it, and I really hate action films. I didn't like the actress who played Irene Adler, though. But I thought the two lead characters were great.

My only problem was how they got from Parliament to Tower Bridge so quickly. And also the bits I couldn't watch, so had to put my hands over my eyes. That means I missed most of the last quarter of the film.

Dead Man

here's another interesting article on Sherlock Holmes


Ron Rizzo:
Sorry to nitpick, but that series was made by Granada (part of ITV) and not the BBC. It must have stung the BBC (and Thames TV!) like cleaning-fluid in the eyes that the definitive portrayal of one of THE quintessential London characters was pulled off by a bargain-basement light-ent station from Manchester.

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